SHARKHUNTERS International
Berlin Patrol 2012
Saturday 2 September

We did a lot - saw a lot, went many places...........and walked from 5 to 10 kilometers each day.  Join us on these pages and hopefully next year, you will join us in person in 2013.  Don't put it off year after year.

Our first stop is at the former home of the Pioneer Division and their bunker, which stands like a silent sentry to past history.......

The sign is from a real estate developer, showing
the condos they will build on the parade ground
  The massive bunker looms bigger as we are nearer
As we explore, it is obvious that Germany has 'taggers' too   AHA!  A doorway into the bunker
Bernie Burdt produces a pocket flashlight - he and COOPER go in   The place sure could use a coat of paint.....
What can be up these stairs?   .........more walls needing paint it appears
The further they climb the stairs, the worst the place looks   Bernie wonders.........who walked these halls 70 years ago

Appearing to be 'orbs'; is this caused by dust in the air....


.........or is there another explanation?

At the uppermost floor, a makeshift ladder leads into the attic   Looking straight up into the attic from that old iron bunk frame

COOPER was tempted to climb that ladder into the attic and Bernie was urging him on, but when he grabbed the bunk, the ladder nearly fell to the floor so COOPER scrapped that plan.  Normally ready to go anywhere despite the danger, today is his birthday and he felt that going to the hospital was not the best way to celebrate one's birthday.

LEFT - the former headquarters of the Pioneers

We depart this place with memories and photos - we walked in the footsteps of history and we are now off to Karlshorst.  It was in this Berlin mansion where top-ranking officers of the various branches of the Wehrmacht sighed the German surrender.

Looks like any other upscale house from the outside   Most of the signers either committed suicide or were
executed shortly after the surrender was signed

Do you notice anything unusual in the photo left and the two photos below of the place where the main people were seated for the signing of the surrender documents?

There are four flags on the wall and on the table - but in the original photographs, there were only three flags.  There were no French Flags in the area at all.  If we remember our history correctly, France was not allowed any representation at any of the major surrender events.

Is "political correctness" rearranging accurate history?


On the grounds outside the building we have a collection of tanks,


tank destroyers, self-propelled guns and a "Stalin Pipe Organ"


Today is COOPER's birthday!  Sure is an unusual way to spend one's birthday - sitting on a Stalin Pipe Organ in Berlin

But now we head for the center of Berlin, passing some Soviet-built apartment buildings.  These are easy to recognize from their stark, no frills style - just concrete structures slapped together with maybe balconies and not much more.  From our experience, many of these are being abandoned and torn down because of the poor quality of construction and building materials used in the "Workers' Paradise in the East".


..........on into the Zentrum of this vibrant city


We park just down from the Brandenburg Gate and across


the boulevard is the memorial to the Soviet troops........


As we walk into the main square, we note that


Berlin has not totally shaken her communist past


Alexanderplatz - the hub of this great city where trains,


trams, busses and foot traffic all merge to the heartbeat of the city

The "World Calendar", left over from the Soviet days   .....and an unusual hot dog vendor

Air Raid Bunker for a Railway Station

In previous years we could go inside and explore   This gigantic boulder is in front of the locked doors

This bunker was built during the time Allied bombers were devastating Berlin and the populace needed to be kept as safe as possible from the falling bombs.  This bunker was built at a major train station and could house thousands of people during bombing raids.

It stood abandoned for decades after the war but in the last few years, a wealthy Berliner bought the bunker and built a very expensive penthouse atop the bunker.  He turned the interior of the bunker into a private museum for his extensive collection of fine art.


We come through the Brandenburg Gate and group
up by the obligatory gift shop just inside the gate
  The building to the right is the Embassy of the United States and the one to the left is the famous Adlon Hotel.  It is most famous because it was from one of these windows that Michael Jackson dangled his child

HARRY COOPER (1-LIFE-1983) is talking with the cop outside the U.S. Embassy.  He wanted to go inside to see what our Embassy looked like - and the cop told him that nobody is allowed inside the Embassy.  That seemed really odd - the cop said that nobody is allowed inside for any reason - but people worked in there.  When asked what work they did in here, the cop had no idea.

COOPER noted the cop's midwestern US accent and asked where he was from.  Turned out the cop was from Chicago - same as COOPER.


Lunchtime - and for some reason, almost all of Germany is loaded with Italian restaurants.  Berlin is no exception and we are at the Bella Italiano for a great lunch.

The Giant Flakturm (anti-aircraft tower)

There were several Flakturms like this around Berlin to shoot down Allied bombers.  They were built very high in the air and at the top there was a battery of the famed German 88's, the 88mm anti-aircraft gun that was so accurate that more Allied bombers were shot down by AA than by Luftwaffe fighters.  In addition to the 88mm guns, they had an array of 37mm and 20mm guns as well.

Hurry up and wait, just like the military   Come on lady, buy a ticket like everyone else!

We get instructions at the base.....


...........then we get instructions again at the top


Apparently our guide figured that we forgot all the instructions she gave us at ground level by the time we walked a quarter of a mile (or more!!) up the trail to the Flakturm at the top so we went through it all again.
  1.  Wear your hardhat
  2.  No photos inside
  3.  Wear your hardhat
  4.  Stay with the group
  5.  Wear your hardhat

There may have been some language confusion - she was born and raised in Ecuador and recently emigrated to Germany and was giving her instructions in English.  She was assisted by a young lady who was born and raised in Spain and recently emigrated to Germany and was assisting in English............guess this makes sense to someone.

Actually, the view from the top is fantastic
That is a mount for a 20mm AA gun
  and we even see some sport balloonists up and about

Of course we were just joking that the woman on the line should buy a ticket.  She was part of a group of climbers apparently using the Flakturm for practice.....but shouldn't she have some kind of climbing boots?  Open sandals or gym shoes just don't seem right.

As we emerge, S.E.I.G. Agent Po-5031 snaps a few of us coming back into the sunlight.


This exciting day in Berlin comes to a close and we head for the hotel, dinner and much needed sleep.  Tomorrow is busy too.